Living with PD and struggling with impulse control? You may not be alone.

By Anna Shavers

In a recent study published in Neurology, researchers at the University of Florida find that impulse control disorders are likely more common in Parkinson’s disease (PD) than previously believed. 

Impulse control disorders (ICD) are characterized by patients having difficulty regulating their emotions or behaviors which can leave patients feeling embarrassed and ashamed. 

To understand how these undesirable emotions may play into a patient’s reporting behavior, researchers collected questionnaire responses from face-to-face visits and online surveys from 60 patients with mild to moderate idiopathic PD.

“We found that impulse control disorders are underreported during face-to-face compared to online questionnaires,” said Robert Eisinger, M.D., Ph.D., recent graduate from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Florida.

Reporting ICD as a patient can be difficult, and the study highlights the importance of social context and clinical setting when screening and surveying for ICDs.

“Future work should expand on these study results by including clinical interviews to determine rates of patients with clinically significant impulsivity,” said Dr. Eisinger.

In addition to Dr. Eisinger, the research team included Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab and professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology and the Department of Neurology; Bonnie Scott, Ph.D., recent graduate from the Cognitive Neuroscience LabMichael Okun, M.D., director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health and chair and professor of the Department of Neurology; and Ayşegül Gündüz, Ph.D., director of the Brain Mapping Laboratory and associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Read the full study in the journal Neurology.